Forced Exposure #9

(In my own fanzine Dynamite Hemorrhage #7, I did an issue-by-issue overview of Forced Exposure. Rather than write new, fresh material about this formative magazine here, this bit is taken from that. You can download a PDF of the issue where I wrote all the FE stuff here). 

The Winter 1986 issue of Forced Exposure had a sort of farewell/swan song to local Boston heroes Mission of Burma, who were retiring (we all know how that went), and it sets the tone for a mostly fantastic issue that continued to pull the magazine (and with it the entire scene) out of its hardcore roots.

What I liked best about this one besides the Burma article were the literal hundreds of reviews; every sub-underground LP and 45 coughed up around the world that quarter. These guys didn’t miss a thing, seriously. Private pressings, import 45s, EPs from deepest Buffalo and Tucson and Vancouver – they’re all in here. I also liked the fact that none of them were alphabetized and were sorted at random, and it’s almost certainly why I’ve been doing the same in the last several issues of this magazine – sort of a “you’ll just have to keep turning pages to find the one you’re looking for” attitude that fit in well with their general vibe.

Jimmy Johnson’s writing took a big leap forward in this issue, and while I always cottoned a bit more to Byron Coley’s taste, Jimmy really started to have a way with words, especially when those words were put in service of haranguing some of punk rock’s lesser lights. This was the start of the era when formerly punk and HC bands started to “tighten up”, stretch their songs out, “cross over” into metal and so forth – and Forced Exposure #9 was lying in wait for them. I loved it.

My future pal Kim Cooper – we wouldn’t actually meet for another three years – wrote in to the letters section to vent about how dopey the Lydia Lunch/Nick Cave plays in the previous issue were, and she totally nailed it:

“…It’s 1985, and any fanzine editor who chooses to publish this silly and dated material is making it quite obvious that s/he knows the history of the literary avant as poorly as the writers who are repeating the innovations of dead men. But the real crime in all this is that the young readers of the journals that feature these people are getting a skewed and sub-standard idea of what that sort of writing is capable of.” 

On the flip side, Byron Coley’s response to Dave “MDC” Dictor’s letter in the issue was one of the funniest things I’d read to that point, and was one of many recruitment tools he and the FE editors & writers used to sign me up for their righteously snotty cause.

Issue #9 featured pieces on White Boy; Couch Flambeau; Big Black; Afflicted Man; Roky Erickson and his mom interviewed by the Angry Samoans’ Gregg Turner; The Flaming Lips (a very different band in 1986 – one who were kind enough to try to sneak me and my fake ID into their Goleta, CA show as a “roadie” a year later….it didn’t work), Half Japanese tour diary, some hideous artwork by a guy I’ve never heard of since called “XNO”; Copernicus; more terrible Lunch/Cave plays; some Nick Blinko (Rudimentary Peni) artwork that only a child could love, and a combination of high art and low embarrassments. 

If Steve Albini’s horndog article about Patti Pezatti – a local fanzine editor and sister of Naked Raygun singer Jeff (ostensibly Albini’s friend?) – had been internet-available at any point in his production career, which I assume is ongoing, he’d have been blackballed and #Me-Too’ed out of a vocation entirely. It truly feels like a hundred years ago, in as many ways as one can count.

2 thoughts on “Forced Exposure #9

  1. Jay, you gotta stop with the teasing. Scan in that Albini article and post it, please.

    He was definitely very tight with the Naked Raygun crowd, as evidenced in the music documentary “You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk, 1977–1984” – which I highly recommend. Plus Santiago from Big Black was a member of Raygun, etc. etc.

    Steve’s still plugging along, somehow dodging whatever “cancel culture” is. Lord knows a band name like “Rapeman” wasn’t gonna survive backlash even then, which is a shame as it’s his finest work. These days he’s still trying to deliver the o.g. edgelord takes but it’s stuff like “Steely Dan sucks.” Google it if you don’t believe me, it’s a good laugh.


    1. That’s a pretty legendary article, but too large to scan and post. Basically it’s a super-crude drool session over this woman, nothing more. Knowing how tight he was with those guys made the piece that much more strange, almost like a power move against his pal? I can’t begin to fathom it.

      Liked by 1 person

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